Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and other cereals, while casein is the protein found in dairy.

Gluten and casein, when not tolerated, can cause an inflammatory response that can create digestive disturbances, poor nutrient absorption, moodiness, as well as pain and many other physical, mental, and behavioral challenges.

These proteins can be problematic for children with autism, as often their digestive system is impaired and unable to deal with these proteins.

Research shows gluten intolerance is a factor in depression, anxiety, ADHD, and schizophrenia. And there are a number of studies on the opiates in autism, a decrease in GI symptoms on a GFCF diet, and a reduction in autistic symptoms with a GFCF diet.

If the proteins are not properly digested, they can become opiate compounds, fit in the opiate receptor of the brain, and mimic other opiates like morphine. This opiate effect can directly influence the brain and result in symptoms similar to morphine—foggy thinking, insensitivity to pain, opiate addiction and withdrawal, and irritability. inattentiveness, constipation, and more. This can not only have an effect on your child’s moods and cognitive function, but are very addictive, often causing an intense food preference – or cravings – for wheat and dairy foods like bread, milk, and cheese, This can make meal times challenging and picky eating habits a real struggle for any parent.

Soy has the same properties and challenges as gluten and casein, including the difficult-to-digest protein and opiates, so soy is removed on a GFCF diet as well.

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Soy-Free (GFCFSF) Diet

A gluten-free, casein-free, and soy-free  diet, can help reduce:

  • ADHD symptoms
  • Autism symptoms
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Tummy aches
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Congestion and sleep apnea
  • Headaches
  • Picky eating

A gluten-free diet is also used with Down Syndrome as a larger percentage of people with this condition, also have Celiac disease (as well as non-celiac gluten intolerance).

Parents typically begin dietary intervention with the GFCFSF diet. I’ve found it one of the most effective ways to begin.

The GFCF diet avoids all foods containing gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and commercial oats, and casein, the protein found in dairy.

There are many new commercially available products and recipes, making it easier than ever to go GFCF.

Some of the foods to avoid (sources containing offending proteins) are obvious. You’ll need to avoid any breads, crackers, pasta, or bakery items made with wheat and other gluten grains, and any dairy foods such as milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and cream from any animals. But some sources can be sneaky and/or may contain undisclosed (gluten or casein-containing) ingredients, i.e:

  • Soy sauce (except gluten-free)
  • Potato chips and fries (often dusted with gluten during processing, may not be listed)
  • Malt (derived from barley)

Use my GFCF Success Guide to plan and implement the GFCF diet for your child:

  • Gluten and casein-foods to avoid
  • GFCF alternatives
  • Meal ideas
  • Further GFCF tips (avoiding cross-contamination, using supplementation)

Your child is unique and so are their diet and nutritional needs. Learn how personalized nutrition can help your child today. Download our guide: “12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.”

Explore our GFCFSF recipes below. Be sure to read all of the instructions before beginning in case diet-compliant substitutions are described in the introduction.

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free and Soy-Free Recipes

The Easiest Shishito Peppers
The Easiest Shishito Peppers

Have you tried shishito peppers?  They are an incredible Asian pepper with no heat and such a great flavor profile. They are rich in vitamin C and also contain vitamin B6, K, and E.  They are also one of the easiest dishes you can create in a really convenient short...

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Coconut Pancakes (Grain-Free Recipe)
Coconut Pancakes (Grain-Free Recipe)

GFCF/SCD/GAPS/LOD, Nut-freeIngredients ¼ cup, (plus 1 Tablespoon) coconut flour ¼ teaspoon unrefined salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda 4 large or 5 medium pastured eggs (room temperature) 2 Tablespoons of coconut milk or other diet compliant non-dairy milk 1 teaspoon...

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Sauerkraut Recipe
Sauerkraut Recipe

GFCF/SCD/GAPS/Paleo/LOD/BED/Keto Diet Compliance Sauerkraut is wonderful for digestion and the immune system. It’s also beneficial for our mood.  Sauerkraut is made with fermented or cultured cabbage and other vegetables. When they are made raw, the traditional way,...

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Crispy Kale Chips Recipe
Crispy Kale Chips Recipe

Our family loves kale chips, including my daughter. And not only are the delicious, they are very nutritious. Kale is the cruciferous, or brassica family, along with other powerhouse foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.  Kale Nutrition Kale...

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Zucchini Pickles [Recipe]
Zucchini Pickles [Recipe]

If you have planted a garden, by the time summer is in full swing, zucchini and summer squash are often so abundant that you just don’t know what to do with them all.  These are simple refrigerator pickles, so there’s no expertise in canning necessary and no fuss....

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